Access to a judge

Key Elements

Ensuring all persons deprived of their liberty have prompt access to a judge is an important safeguard against arbitrary detention and to ensure that the rights of detainees are respected. The right of detainees in prison to access a judge includes 1) the right of criminal suspects to be brought promptly before a judge and 2) the right of all detainees to challenge the legality of detention (habeas corpus). In both cases, the court should hear the detainee in person in order to be able to respond to any allegations or indications of ill-treatment. The judiciary can also play a broader oversight role through its decisions on aspects of conditions or treatment in prisons.